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Aircraft warning lights on Tower of the Americas fail, posing possible crash danger

WOAI San Antonio logo WOAI San Antonio 8/17/2022 Jaie Avila / News 4 San Antonio
Aircraft warning lights on Tower of the Americas fail, posing possible crash danger
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SAN ANTONIO - We were the first to tell you about serious safety hazards at the Tower of the Americas that the city is spending millions to fix. 

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Caption: Jaie Avila explains that the broken lighting means aircraft can't see the 128-foot tall mast and antenna at night.

Now the News 4 Trouble Shooters have uncovered a failure of the safety lights that prevent the tower from being hit by aircraft. Since late July, the FAA lights on the roof of the top house have been out. That means aircraft can't see the 128-foot tall mast and antenna. A contractor has been working to fix it.

Sky Four shot images showing how dark the top of the 750-foot tower looks right now.

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An aviation expert and longtime pilot says the tower may not be in the flight path of our airports, but it is a busy airspace for low flying medical, law enforcement and news media helicopters.

“The whole purpose of that light is to give more visibility to the object and give the pilot, whether it be rotorcraft or airplane, more time to see it and time to take action," David Evans told News 4.

The red light at the very tip of the antenna should be constantly flashing. Right now, it's dimly blinking every forty-five seconds or so. The bright lights that illuminate the antenna from below are completely out.

The City of San Antonio told us, "A relay switch that controls all FAA lights on the Tower of the Americas caused the outage. The city immediately notified the FAA on July 29, 2022 and has remained in contact with them throughout the repair process."

The FAA has put out a notice about the outage that pilots are supposed to check along with weather conditions before they fly.

Last November we reported on safety problems with other parts of the tower, including cracks and pieces of the top house falling off.

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The city is spending more than $15 million in bond and budget money to repair the 54-year old tower. That includes repairs to the mast, antenna, and other items on the roof.

The city says the contractor is trying to fix the problem as soon as possible and has been given a deadline of August 29th to finish the repair.

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